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Mafia Guide/Questions

13
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:41 AM ET (US)
Post originally by Acionyx On Scumtells and Trying Stuff

[Just so folks know]:

This QT is unpolished/unfinished and using it as direct justification for things in games ain't recommended.

Kind of brings me to a thing that sort of needs to be said: Trying new things in games is wonderful and it'll help you improve but it's important that you try to understand the things that you're trying.

There's a very big difference between jumping on something you see because it vaguely fits a listed tell and [jumping on something because you've worked] out where it fits in the context of everything a person is doing.

More or less: take some time to learn the reasoning behind why things may be scummy before leaping out to yell "SCUMTELL!".
Edited 07-27-2018 02:41 AM
12
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:37 AM ET (US)
Post originally by Acionyx General Summary of Tips

Simplifying everything and cutting out most of the fidgety stuff down to the most basic starter guide:

- Don't be afraid to act in the game. Dying isn't the end of the world and you learn best by doing.

- Watch for consistency. Does an argument follow a logical course? Did a person suddenly start getting active when a chatty scumperson died/did someone lurk for most of the game and perk up and start yapping when mylo started? Did a person contradict something they said earlier?

- Don't limit yourself. The more people you try to understand, the more people you put under pressure, the more you'll piece together about the game.

- Don't lurk. It ties into the whole don't be afraid deal but you will improve by testing and attempting more quickly than you will by observation.

- Remember that you are on a team. Whatever part you play for that team, do it as best you can for their sake as much as your own.

- Don't panic.

As far as basic things for identifying people as town or scum [mostly advice for town, but sometimes scum want to identify a third party):

- Watch and see if people are more concerned with their own survival over all else. Scum/3p have to keep breathing to win, town doesn't.

- Watch for consistency in both actions and words. This one is sort of null in that good scum are perfectly capable of being consistent but it's a good sign that a person is worth a look if they fail to be so.

- Watch for a genuine desire to help behind what people do. A good thing to learn to spot is when someone can make a move, however little or great value it is, but does not.
Edited 07-27-2018 03:13 AM
11
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:30 AM ET (US)
Post originally by Sotek On Gambits (As Town or Scum)

[A 'Gambit' in mafia is generally speaking when a player lies (or sometimes just omits important info etc.) in the thread in order to provoke a reaction, or protect a power role, or fish out a power role, or do other things they feel are helpful to their team. The key distinguishing feature of a gambit is that there is a (often high) degree of risk involved for the player performing it.]

Rules for gambits:

1) Have a /reason/. Figure out how your gambit benefits your side if it works. (If you're town, you're done here. If you're scum and your intent is to look like a towngambit, make sure you can figure out how to spin it as such, paying attention to this rule.)

2) Have an escape strategy. If things go wrong, what can you do? This is not as mandatory for scum - scum need to play it fast and loose sometimes - but you should always think about it. Try not to hurt your side if it's /at all/ avoidable.

If your gambit fails if you die in the night [as town], you'd better be bulletproof. If your gambit [as town] could end in a flaming wreck that gets you lynched AND the cop killed in the night ... don't fakeclaim cop.


[As an example of a recently-attempted low-risk town gambit: In Nostalgfia a town every-night-redirector Palamedes first claimed he was only an every-other-night redirector at first. While this would have paid off if mafia had believed it (they could have shot at him believing he would die and he could have redirected the kill), it did not because it wasn't consistent with night actions thus far and it just confused town further until he had to fullclaim).
Edited 07-27-2018 02:32 AM
10
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:28 AM ET (US)
Post originally by Acionyx On Trusting Other Players (As Town)

Don't be afraid to actually trust other players. Statistically you're in okay shape and unless you are absolutely terrible at identifying town and scum you're not taking any huge risk.

This isn't to say "follow their votes forever". Follow what they're doing, see if you can catch things that they miss, ask questions, pursue people they aren't focused on but who are connected.

Now, some people never seem to be able to trust anyone. That's not in itself a bad thing, sometimes a little paranoia is good, but it is NOT helpful when you refuse to trust anyone and you sit out of everything.

Best answer to this is that is "If you want it done right then you have to do it yourself". If you're unable to play support/trust others then you need to step up and take the lead because otherwise you're dead weight no matter your skill level.
9
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:26 AM ET (US)
Post Originally by Acionyx On How To Avoid Looking Scummy

Resist the urge to defend everything you do excessively

It's good to be thorough and you want to be clear but don't flip out at the slightest suspicion someone has about you. Hell don't flip out about major suspicions people might have about you.

Panic and flailing are the biggest things to watch out for. Don't get trapped into doing nothing except explaining yourself because that's a tendency that scum have.

Specifically, scum need to survive the game. This tends to result in a mindset where the only thing that's important to them is to get the pressure off themselves. A focus on how YOU look as opposed to everything else looks scummy because it makes you appear to only be interested in yourself.

Avoiding your death as town is something you want yes, but the thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to live to win and your suspicions confirmed can be more valuable than causing a distraction.

[A post further down the line]

Questions may pop into your mind along the lines of "What can I say to change people's views of me" or "what can I do not to be scummy"

The answer is that there's nothing specific you can do. There's not a single thing that someone can say to make themselves town unless it's "I modconfirm as X" or something.

The actual answer to this is: Play the Game. That's really all there is to it. You don't get to go "but I'm town!" and have people believe you. If you're town the goal is to work towards getting rid of scum, so you need to act instead of waiting. Don't skip the thread and show up only to answer questions aimed at you and expect to be free and clear.

The idea is to work towards your goal and do it effectively; make sure you can explain to people where you're coming from, if asked questions then don't limit yourself to just what they've said. Don't faff about deciding where to put your vote.

Ambiguity can be nice if you're a role that needs to hide but unless it's important that you stay alive you have to make it as clear as you can that you are town. You don't have to take the lead and yell and interrogate everyone but that doesn't mean you're free to let other people do the work and then expect a free pass.
8
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:19 AM ET (US)
Post Originally by Acionyx On Playing a 'Non-Valuable' Town Role

[With regards to playing a vanilla/'uninteresting' town role]

Sotek's the one who introduced me to the idea but vanillas, millers, bulletproofs and in general any role that scum want to avoid killing should generally try their hardest to get scum to kill them in place of more useful roles.

Besides keeping scum from hitting roles that need to stay alive it's more likely for your claim to be believed if things go sour down the road.

There's a great quote about this that I cannot bloody find but it goes something like

"You should be playing in such a way that the scumteam are praying their little hearts out for the day to end so that they can sprint like a cheetah to send in the night order to kill you because the idea of another day with you alive makes them [shiver]"
7
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:16 AM ET (US)
Post Originally by Acionyx On Posting Length

Oh hey this is probably something to say

There is generally a temptation to say everything you can when trying to lead a lynch

Thoroughness is not a bad thing but enormous quotewalls and masses of words are often less effective than people think.

Unless in a highly highly active game people are likely to glaze past most of the stuff, especially those with time constraints. Condensing your thoughts into something more readable will very often help your case, usually you'll do fine if you can cover everything in three or four paragraphs.

Also post by post analysis. [PbP Analysis is an old thing where people would quote every post a player has made and micro-analyze them that way]. It's... yeah don't do it. Even the most active player is not going to read what you think of every single post by another player, ESPECIALLY if your opinion of the player changes throughout. The only thing that matters is your current opinion and quotes are rarely necessary for that.

Post Originally by Mirdini [Who Regularly Ignores This Advice To His Own Detriment]

[Definitely agree with the above.] People should not be in the habit of just posting absolutely everything that goes through their minds (or absolutely everything in the thread so far) because other players will just glaze over and not read any of it. In fact multiple people constantly posting massive walls will get in the way of scumhunting, since it will drive less committed townies to refrain from doing anything.

Sure, it's alright to do massive wallposts FOR YOURSELF - but spoiler it and add a disclaimer that they're for your benefit only. If people REALLY want you to "show your work" they can go there, most everyone else can check what you do next:

After you're done analyzing things, summarize. Think critically! Find the most important points of your argument and fit them into a few short paragraphs, paying attention to readability. Massive walls don't (perhaps counterintuitively) push lynches - concise, well-reasoned points on where someone's done things wrong do.

Also yeah post-by-post analyses of ANYONE are pretty much useless, almost no-one bothers reading them and if they do they lose the forest for the trees.
Edited 07-27-2018 03:20 AM
6
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:10 AM ET (US)
Post Originally by x1372 Advice for Scum/Mafia

As scum, you may consider severe lurking. It naturally feels like being quiet is safer - the less you say or do, the less chance what you said or did has a chance to bite you in the ass later.

DO. NOT. DO. THIS.

Your goal is to have your side have more players alive in the endgame. While this may keep you alive a bit longer than speaking up early and making a mistake would have, in the long run, you are holding up a big flashing neon sign saying LYNCH ME. In endgame scenarios, the guy who has had a lot to say and been a leader is less likely to end up getting the noose than the quiet guy who's been hiding in the corner. Don't assume that town is going to never notice you - quiet scum tend to drop like flies in the mid to late game. It also makes it MORE likely that vigilantes or other killing roles will go for you, because if nothing else you look scummy enough to justify the kill no matter how you would flip.

...

Also, for the love of god, DON'T GIVE UP UNTIL THE HAMMER IS DOWN.

This goes for everyone, but for scum especially.

Tracker claims he tracked you to the murder victim? Make up a plausible fakeclaim. There's plenty of roles that could have visited, and there's plenty of ways you could have been visiting anyway. Or maybe claim you didn't visit them, and argue that something else must be afoot. Cop claim? Argue he might be insane or paranoid, or consider claiming miller.

The most important thing is that you don't quietly just sit there and take it.

First, its entirely possible that someone is faking a power role, trying to get information on you. Just about anything you could say can help in these situations. Or it could be a power role who didn't do anything at all regarding you fishing for a response (or lack thereof). Or maybe its true and they did catch you red handed, you might be able to play it off in some way or even turn it around (after all, scum claiming cop then insane or paranoid cop is a valid tactic, and something you might want to consider yourself). Or perhaps you really are doomed? You might be able to get another power role or someone else to claim and help your scumbuddies target their kills better.

Lying down and taking it has no possible upside. Especially if you haven't been quiet, you can turn things around, muddy the waters enough to keep yourself alive, or at the very least create enough doubt and confusion that something positive for your scumbuddies can happen. Anything distracting that you do, as long as they don't get attached to you as part of it (or caught distancing) will ultimately help your side.

...

Oh, and definitely make shit up in advance. Create a fake role for yourself, a multi-layered one if possible. Give subtle hints if you think you're up for it (VERY SUBTLE) early on. If things get dicey, or you think you can swing a lynch or two, make some sort of partial claim. Have a full fakeclaim ready if things get dicey, preferably with a backup in case your first claim gets shot to hell by an information role. Don't just sit there and say "I'm vanilla" or something if you get pressure, have some sort of claim prepared based on what's been happening. Change it to fit the circumstances as long as you haven't outed it yet, and be sure you have a whole history and explanation of your actions to use as a guide for a fakeclaim if you're claiming to have night actions. If you're faking cop, also, think about how things will go if you claim you got a guilty and someone flips townie. If you claim to have only had two guilties and got another one the following night, you could still swing as paranoid or as insane. Or if you can manage to get one person lynched as your "guilty" and another as your "innocent" if you were insane, you're almost certainly dead yourself, but you swung TWO mislynches. At least one member of a scum team needs to have something big ready, but everyone should have some sort of fake handy.
5
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:05 AM ET (US)
Post Originally by Acionyx [Continuing Town Advice But Info Also Useful As Mafia]


If you follow the games around here you'll doubtlessly have heard of "The Machine". Some people seem to think it's like this magical equation where you plug in votes and out pops scum.

It's not.

It's basically a set of theories about how scum work and while it is capable of some amazing stuff none of it comes without effort.

The basic theories that work it are

- Scum prefer not to vote one right after the other. It's a subconscious thing and a habit that's hard to break. It's also the sort of thing that's hard to NOT do. At least it's hard to avoid doing it and not looking strange.

- Scum prefer not to start lynches but they do like them to happen. As such they prefer to get in the middle of lynchwagons to make them look bigger and more inevitable. Starting lynches carries more scrutiny and while some scum will do it they really prefer not to. This ties in to things mentioned earlier where the less that they have to justify the better. And starting a lynch takes work to justify.

- If it's a lynch happening on fellow scum they try not to push it and prefer not to get involved until it looks inevitable. They'll want to be on the lynch because if not then they have to justify being off the lynch. Again this is something that can be circumvented but if scum are bussing [slang for 'throwing under the bus'] their partners hard then it's to their disadvantage.


Now, you might hear things related to this like HELLSPOT FOUR. That's nonsense, it's a suspect place yes, but there are plenty of suspect places and it depends on how people act when voting.

- Someone pops up out of lurking and goes LYNCH:DUDE in spot four then yes they are suspicious.

- Someone has been asking questions and getting bleah answers and then votes in spot four it's not really a thing.

That applies to any of the 'spots'. They are useful places to look but are not some INSTANT SCUM thing.

Now, the big, really damn useful thing:

Groups. Specifically groups of town. As you play you try your best to read people. There are naturally a lot more town than scum so you'll probably find a lot of people you at least vaguely think are town. Now, if you have a lynch to look at and you have a bunch of people you think are town in one spot along with some other random player, that is your cue to dig through their posts and see what he looks like. As well as a cue for you to bring them into the spotlight and start asking questions.

It has a pretty decent run of effectiveness. And the way to circumvent it? Scum are forced to act like town. Which brings us back yet again to forcing them to justify themselves. A really town looking scum can slip through these methods of analysis but that leads to a lot of chances for them to mess up.

None of these are hard and fast Laws but they are very good starting points and they can heavily augment regular scumhuntery.

So, a very useful thing is for town players to be ready and willing to vote.

It's sort of a 'drag along' effect. For example, the fewer people who lurk in the game the more often scum has to post to not look suspicious. The more people who vote the more scum are forced to vote and justify it.

In addition, voting is more likely to make things happen. If someone is at a few votes and you bring another on then it makes the wagon just that little bit more attractive for scum to try and push. Whether by adding their own votes or whether by sitting to the side and supporting it (which is also a scummy thing to do).

Which also brings sort of a minor concept up: the more that town is willing to act the more that scum is forced to react. And say it with me: MORE THAT THEY HAVE TO JUSTIFY AND RISK MESSING UP
Edited 07-27-2018 02:06 AM
4
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
02:01 AM ET (US)
Post Originally by Sotek General Information

As town, people are playing to seek information; Unless it's MYLO or LYLO, it's not very important if the lynch hits scum or not - what really matters is /figuring things out/.

As scum, people are playing to not-die; By and large, they already know everything important, so what they need to do is keep from being lynched.

This fundamental distinction informs everything else. Scum try to look like town, of course, but it's very hard to seek information that you already have. If someone acts like they don't need to know what's up - that's the best scumtell there is. Anything specific really comes down to the distinction between knowing things and not knowing things.

Specific scumtells can include: Being too willing to lynch a townie (because you want them dead). Not being willing ENOUGH to lynch a townie (because you know they'll flip town and make you look bad.) Being too willing to lynch a SCUM (because you know they'll flip scum), not being willing enough to lynch a scum (because they're one of your scumbuddies). So, yes, "anything is scummy". To evaluate, you need to look at the whole picture - a vote with no explanation is automatically scummier than one with good reasoning, simply because it's easier to reason if you have partial information than if you have full information.
Edited 07-27-2018 02:11 AM
3
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
01:59 AM ET (US)
Post Originally By Acionyx

[Play Advice] As town:

Townplay isn't too difficult to figure out but it's something that takes practice to get a good hand on. One of the most important things as town is to make sure that the rest of the town recognizes you for what you are, preferably before you end up getting lynched. Easiest way to manage that is to just scumhunt.

Important things for actually scumhunting/playing as town:

-Best not to be too overly worried about getting anything wrong. Question yourself yes but don't get so paranoid of messing up that you never say anything for fear of being wrong. Getting it wrong happens and it helps you spot what not to do next time. And even if you screw up there is still information to be gained. Leading a lynch wrong isn't the death sentence it might look to be.

- Questions are a good start. If you see something that seems strange, ask about it. It may get cleared up in a satisfactory way and it may lead to catching someone legitimately being scummy. The more you're willing to question people the better a read you can get on them. And as a bonus the more things that scum are made to justify the more likely it is that there is something they'll flub in the end.

- Don't worry about getting lynched. It's not the end of the world and there are always more games. Scum are the only ones who need to stay alive at all costs, YOU can still win even if you're dead. That said just accepting that you're going to be lynched isn't the way to go; you want to do everything you can to help your team before you die. Worry less about getting the lynch off yourself and more about making sure that everything you think can help gets left behind for your allies to work with.

- Don't be afraid to scrap your assumptions and start over. Rarely are you ever going to nail everything perfectly, if you get something wrong, factor it in and see what changes.
Edited 07-27-2018 02:12 AM
2
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
01:56 AM ET (US)
First question: What happens in a lynch?

Mafia the game is (generally) divided into two alternating phases: the Day phase and the Night phase. Most games start with a Day Phase (Day 1), but sometimes games will start with a Night Phase (N0), often one without a mafia kill.

During the Night phase, players with role powers that are used during that phase get to act on them, and the mafia team gets to use their kill to (try to) eliminate a player of their choice.

Wander Island (for instance) will be starting with a Day Phase, however. There are very few roles that can use their powers during Day Phases (in many games, none at all!), so Day Phases are mostly there for players to talk to one another and try to figure out who among them is part of the lying mafia. This talk is often based on information from previous nights' role actions as well as the "flips" of dead players.

When a player dies, they will (usually) "flip", meaning their role and alignment will be revealed to the remaining players in the game. This can be very important information, because if a player "flips" as a mafia member you can go back to their posts in the game so far (so during previous day phases) and try to figure out what they were lying about/if they were too friendly with another still-living player, that sort of thing.

During Day 1 there is usually no solid information (whether from roles or from flips) to go on, so that tends to be more of a 'feeling out the terrain' Day. Town players still want to have people talking on Day 1 though, because the talk on Day 1 can be relevant in light of later flips and information.

SO that finally brings us to The Lynch. The Lynch is town's best and only mechanically guaranteed method for eliminating the mafia and thus fulfilling their win condition.

How it works is that every Day Phase, generally speaking the player with the most votes on them (as long as it's over 25% of living players) is Lynched and eliminated from the game. This will (usually) cause them to "flip", and who voted for them and for what reasons can often be important for figuring out who the other mafia are (and aren't) depending on their flip.

There are two kinds of lynches: Hard Lynch and Soft Lynch. Hard Lynch happens when a simple majority (so 50% + 1) of players vote to lynch a specific player. This ends the Day Phase immediately, which is the distinction between that and a Soft Lynch. A Soft Lynch can occur with only 25%+ of living players voting for a player, but will only kick in if the Day Deadline is reached (in Wander Island this means the Day has been going on for 120 hours, 72 hours for Day 1). The Soft Lynch will target the player with the *most* votes at the end of the day as long as more than 25% of players are voting for that person (and obviously below 50% + 1, because otherwise a Hard Lynch would've kicked in).

So you could have a player with 40% of players voting for them, and another player with another 30% of players voting for them at the end of the day, but the Soft Lynch would only eliminate the player with 40% of the votes.

I already sort of mentioned why the lynch is so important - it's town's best weapon against the mafia, and lynching a player each day is the only guaranteed way the town have of killing off the mafia and winning the game. It also functions as a strong informational tool for the town, because the mafia would really rather not lynch their teammates if they can avoid it.

So for example if a player "leads" (argues for strongly and gets other people to agree to) a lynch on a mafia player, especially one under little suspicion before then, that's often a good sign that the lynch-leading player is a town player.

One other notable feature of The Lynch is it is mechanically distinct from a 'kill', which is at its' most basic the mafia's ability that eliminates a player in the night phase. Other roles, including town/third party/mafia roles, may have access to extra 'kills', but the only guaranteed one in a mafia game is the mafia's kill.

There are usually role abilities that function to prevent kills or otherwise mess around with them, which can make them somewhat unreliable. The Lynch is different, in that there is almost never an ability that will stop a lynch from happening/eliminating the player targeted. Nostalgfia had a role that was an exception, but these roles are exceedingly rare and extremely powerful, because The Lynch is supposed to be town's trump card that they can use every day.
Edited 07-27-2018 03:23 AM
1
MirdiniPerson was signed in when posted
07-27-2018
01:56 AM ET (US)
So, in the interests of passing on some wisdom and helping folks out with the mafia now that they're kinda back (for now, at least), I'm putting together this QT. If anyone has specific questions to ask me (Mirdini) just dm me on Discord and I'll type up an answer in here.

Immediately this QT is going to have a 'what is a lynch' answer I typed up the other week as well as what I feel is the still-relevant advice from the old MSPA Mafia Guide Thing QT. We'll see where it goes after that.

If I'm cleaning things up or adding context you'll see my comments [in brackets like this].
Edited 07-27-2018 02:17 AM

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